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Incipient eBooks

I have started seriously tackling the work of turning my old novels into ebooks. Spent all day on Dad’s Nuke, and got far enough along that I carried on in the first pass of reformatting Kalifornia in the evening. My only plans at the moment are to do Kindle editions. One format has enough headaches, considering how many devices run the app. I might consider doing other versions at some point, depending on how fast I get at the work and how much interest there is in the Kindle versions. If there is little to no interest in the Kindle editions, then I probably won’t be spending a lot of time on versions that reach even fewer people.

The biggest headache I’m having at this point is around any kind of novel formatting. This will strongly discourage me from doing any adventurous type or layout experimentation in future self-publishing endeavors. On the other hand, when I’ve left this sort of thing to actual type professional, I’ve sometimes been disappointed in their work as well. Done well, typographic experiments are thrilling. They are rarely done well. (See my story “Roguelike” for an example of graphic designers doing the absolute minimum amount of work necessary to bring a typographic idea to life, so that something intended to be fun and funny just…lies there. (I have definitely been spoiled by my years of working in close collaboration with visual artists at Valve.))

ePriest

Christopher Priest has been one of my favorite writers since I first encountered his stories in the mid-Seventies. Most people probably know him from Christopher Nolan’s film adaptation of The Prestige, which doesn’t come close to capturing the disorienting weirdness and terrors of the novel. Most of his novels, reliably, freak me out. I can’t even describe what it is he does so effectively that creates a sense of reality undermined, but he does it over and over again. It has been a source of frustration that I’ve never read a few of his books, but I’m less frustrated right now, having discovered that Valancourt Books has been reissuing a number of them in inexpensive ebook editions.

A Dream of Wessex

The Separation

The Affirmation

The Space Machine

I have read none of these yet, but The Prestige is on offer too, and I recommend it highly…as I do all Priest’s work.

 

Sopranobits

In the first season of The Sopranos, Tony’s mother Livia enters nursing care, and is sitting up in bed reading when Artie comes to visit. This is her point of view shot: She’s reading the obituaries. HD now allows us a glorious glimpse of the pasted-up paper she’s reading, visible for a fraction of a second…unless you pause it on your iPad and take a screenshot. At first glance, one sees evidence of actual, old school cut-and-paste. But a closer read shows the two columns on the left had some actual work put into them. I’ve done my best to transcribe them below:

sopranobits

Julie Ross

[S]aturday. Chase Township. Julie

[R]oss, one half of the acrobatic

[t]eam of Ross and Toss, was found

[de]ad in a Queen’s NY mental

[ins]titution, apparently as an effect

…her attempting to juggle too

[ma]ny items at once. Ross and Toss

…e famous in the European

…s venues for their

…mplished act. In their most

…s feat, Ms. Ross would

[balan]ce an entire film crew on her

[shoul]ders while Toss would shout

[r]andom schedule changes to

[torme]nt the hapless crewmembers.

…survived by her acrobatic

…of 16 years. Toss, a full

…Cherokee Indian whose

…was knife throwing

…it was rumored for many

…at Ross and Toss were

…r. Toss denied that today,

…Ugh. Me-um and squaw

…just act for show. No

…kyum.” “But, he added,

…otice Me squaw Ross

…heap nice rack.

Services will be

…at the Juggler’s chapel.

 

Sunday. Brigantyne. Dr. Mitchell Burgess, the notorious “Shore Points Diet doc” was found dead of an apparent exploded stomach after chowing down to an “all you can eat” lobsterfest at a local Brigantyne bar. Burgess, whose controversial diet method, “Eat This Book” made the NY Times best seller list for seven straight years, preached that the fiber content of ordinary wood pulp as found in paperback books was more than enough nutrition for the average American. By eating his books, Dr. Burgess’ readers not only shed pounds, but kept buying more and more copies whenever they wanted a little snack. “He seems to have stumbled on the ultimate selling technique,” opined his Publisher, Robin Green of Random Thoughts Books. “By convincing his readers to eat the books, he kept on the best seller list for all those years.” On Sunday, Burgess, who practiced what he preached and demonstrated a voracious appetite for fine literature by once eating the collected works of [?] was innocently walking down the street [?] munching on a TV Guide…

Coming Soon: The Outer Dark Interview

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Fans of modern weird fiction may already be familiar with The Outer Dark Podcast, created by Scott Nicolay. The podcast has been on hiatus for a few months but is about to return with a double episode. The first half features a long interview with me, and the second half is an interview with a young author who has recently been winning acclaim and awards. If this is the first you’re hearing of the show, the archives are full of fascinating interviews and well worth delving into. Might as well subscribe to this podcast right away and start catching up before I start yammering tonelessly in your ear, causing permanent damage that will make it impossible for you to hear anything except muffled screams.